Future trends in automating and improving global scalability of Ethernet Services

Last week, I participated in the Metro Ethernet Forum’s (MEF) quarterly meeting in Montreal, Canada, that was also host to the Service Operations Summit which examined the challenges and opportunities that our industry faces in automating and improving global scalability of Ethernet Services.


The speakers covered a wealth of topics, including:

  • Ethernet service growth
  • the enterprise perspective of the technical and operational challenges of deploying and maintaining networks that span numerous service providers
  • the need for easing service delivery by automating parts of the processes involved and being able to monitor and ensure end-to-end quality of the services
  • the readiness of existing software systems and equipment to meet these challenges

There was a panel session, with key persons from Global Capacity, Comcast, and Ericsson, that explored the scope and current state of service operations and the potential standardization and automation opportunities for Carrier Ethernet, including the potential impact of cloud and SDN.

Other speakers, such as Stephen Howe from Bell Canada, highlighted the extreme growth in bandwidth and mentioned that Bell Canada also plans to deploy 100G core network trunks to meet that.

John Downs from Bloomberg presented on the benefits, concerns and observations surrounding Ethernet-based services deployment, focused around a 3-year project that included moving traditional SDH and SONET, with local last mile and core network WAN services (~30,000 circuits), to end-to-end fiber-based services.

Michael Strople from Allstream said he sees several MEF projects, such as service activation testing, remote loopback, and Carrier Ethernet for cloud services, as future standards that help to design service excellence.

As cloud service and SDN continue to dominate industry debate, a few people, back in May 2013, decided to establish a new industry forum, called CloudEthernet, in order to address the need for enhancing Ethernet technology to meet cloud services market growth and unique requirements.

James Walker, President of the CloudEthernet Forum, presented this forum to MEF members and proudly stated that it brings together relevant stakeholders, such as data center providers and WAN service providers, and is working in close collaboration with MEF to meet their goals.

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